Alvaro Hodeg leads the U23 classification at his home race after stage 1.
The second-largest city of Colombia and capital of the Antioquia department, Medellin welcomed the peloton for the opening day of the Tour Colombia, a 14km-long team time trial held on a slightly undulating course and contested by the riders on normal bikes.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step came to the start with a balanced squad – comprising Julian Alaphilippe, Alvaro Hodeg, Luxembourg ITT Champion Bob Jungels, Iljo Keisse, Maximiliano Richeze and Petr Vakoč – and were the first World Tour team to go down the ramp, averaging over 55km/h and posting a new best time at the finish, 15:13, significantly improving the result of provisional leaders Team Medellin.
Eventually, our team concluded the day as runner-up, only a handful of seconds behind EF Education, but their impressive ride garnered a trip to the podium for Alvaro Hodeg, who leads the U23 standings. The young Colombian, who recently has inked a new deal with our outfit which will keep him in the Deceuninck – Quick-Step jersey through 2021, was emotional to stand in front of his countrymen in Medellin, the same city where he moved alone at a young age, many years ago, to pursue his cycling career.
“It gives me great joy to wear this jersey, which is more my teammates’ than mine, because without their fantastic job in this time trial it wouldn’t have been possible to pull it on”, Alvaro said after Tuesday’s stage. “I am very happy, and I don’t think you can imagine how much; wearing a distinctive jersey in my home race, in front of these amazing fans, is something truly special, which boosts my confidence ahead of the next stages, where I hope to be in the mix when it will come down to a bunch sprint.”
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images